The Biggest Takeaways of Making Lists and Taking Notes


Article Categories: Tips and Tricks & Basic Skills




What nursing assistant task is so old school yet still as effective as ever?

Yup. It's making lists and taking notes. That small notebook and the pen in your pocket is indispensable because, with all the hustle and bustle of work, it is quite dangerous to rely on mental notes of everything you need to do and document.

Why do you need lists?

1. Lists put all the things you need to do in numbers.

Our brain processes data better when details are numbered. Take these tips in this article, for example. You'd remember them more effectively when they are in a list-form rather than when there are in paragraphs.

Lists create order and when details are organized, you get the bigger picture. It gives you a pretty good idea of how long your day’s going to be. You also unconsciously start recognizing which things should be accomplished right away, which brings us to the second advantage.

2. It’s easier for you to prioritize.

With all your to-do’s in one place, you’d be able to pinpoint which items you need to do first. Pro tip: color-code your list, like mark urgents red, less urgents green, and non-urgents blue. With one glance, you’ll know what to accomplish in the next hour and which ones you can do later.

3. You can update it at any time.

There are times when you just can’t finish a task. Do you need to reschedule? Do you need to follow up? A comment beside an entry within the list will do the trick.

4. It gives you a sense of achievement.

Every box that you tick as accomplished on your list is like an earned badge. Each checkmark means that you are one step closer to your daily goal. Fewer checkmarks also mean that you have to double-time to be more productive. In both ways, it summarizes your success for the day.

5. It saves time.

Without creating lists, there is a big chance that you’ll forget details, so you waste time and lose your focus by trying to remember the forgotten details. This could be dangerous and put patients at risk. You might also need to repeat procedures, such as vital sign measurements, when you can’t recall the patient’s data. Making lists avoids these inefficiencies.

6. It gives you confidence.

Lists are a sign that you are prepared for the day. You get more work done. And that feels good! More confidence also means less stress and better focus.

Making notes is equally important because it’s proof that you are paying attention and doing your job as a CNA. When you jot down details, your memory improves. Recording patient data right after you get them leads to accurate documentation, which is a big responsibility. Keep in mind that tasks that you’ve completed but not documented are considered undone, and that counts against your credibility.

When to take notes and what to write down:

1. Verbal orders and requests from the nurse

It is always recommended to jot down any requested task by the nurse and include it to your to-do list. This way, you can allocate time and resources to perform your duties.

2. Patient requests, complaints

Most patient concerns cannot wait. Better take note of their needs and address them as soon as you're able.

3. Patient data such as vital signs measurements, intake, and output, new observations

As soon as you finish taking their vitals, record the results, or else you need to retake them once you've forgotten. You should also include any changes in the patient’s condition.

4. Staff meeting particulars

Writing down highlights of the meeting will help you remember and follow memos.

Lists and notes are vital to a CNA's everyday success so always keep a notebook and pen handy.

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